Award of Merit
Established in 1950, this award is given to signify that a cultivar is not only distinctive and beautiful, but also performs well over a wide geographic area. The award is made each year to the twelve cultivars receiving the most votes by the garden judges under the following formula: A cultivar must receive votes from at least half of the AHS regions, and not more than one-third of the total votes credited to a cultivar shall come from any one region. If this occurs, the vote tabulator is instructed to deduct an equal and sufficient number of votes from both the excess region total and from the national total until the remaining adjusted figures bear the allowable relationship to each other. To be eligible for the Award of Merit, a cultivar must have received the Honorable Mention Award a minimum of three years previously. It will remain eligible for three years. Two years after winning an Award of Merit, a cultivar automatically moves into competition for the Stout Silver Medal. In voting for this award, Garden Judges must cast their votes only for cultivars observed in their own region.